Want to know what the best bang for your buck Toyota RAV4 is to buy? It’s the Cruiser Hybrid FWD. Here’s why.

WHEN IS IT during the life of owning a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid that the extra purchase cost is paid off by the fuel savings?

To start, we’re comparing the Toyota RAV4 Cruiser range. That’s available in 2.0L (non-hybrid) FWD, and 2.5L Hybrid FWD and AWD models.

The price? As of writing, Toyota says that for a buyer at postcode 3000, Victoria, you’ll pay the following drive-away prices for those models (and in brackets we tell you how much more that model costs over the non-hybrid).

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $43,997

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $46,506 (+$2,509)

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $49,632 (+$5,635)

What about servicing costs? You pay the same $210 every 12 months/15,000km service for any of the models with Toyota Service Advantage. That’s a prepaid fixed-price servicing arrangement.

What about insurance costs? The hybrid costs more to insure; $60 over five years more to insure. With a quote for a 40 year-old male living at postcode 3000, Victoria, the cost per annum for the non-hybrid Cruiser is $906.39, and the quote for the hybrid Cruiser $915.45.

What about fuel use? This is where we can calculate savings. All models run on 91 RON (minimum) petrol, and not surprisingly the non-hybrid is the heaviest drinker. Here are the manufacturer claims for each and also our real-world fuel consumption figures that we will use for calculations. All models have a 55-litre fuel tank.

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD

Claim: 6.5L/100km

Real: 9.1L/100km

Potential fuel tank range: 604.4km

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD

Claim: 4.8L/100km

Real: 5.3L/100km

Potential fuel tank range: 1037.7km

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD

Claim: 4.8L/100km

Real: 5.5L/100km

Potential fuel tank range: 1000km

We can now clearly see that the front-wheel drive RAV4 hybrid is the most efficient, but the all-wheel drive model isn’t far behind. That’s good to know if you want all-wheel drive or need its benefits, such as 1500kg braked towing capacity – the front-wheel drive only gets a 800kg rating. However, as we’ll see, the FWD model pays itself off far quicker than the AWD.

How much does fuel cost? We used the Australian Institute of Petroleum to calculate a Victorian state average 91 RON petrol fuel price in December 2019 (to date) of $1.51 per litre.

How much does it cost to run the RAV4 hybrid vs non-hybrid?

Driving 1000km in each costs:

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $137.41

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $80.03

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $83.05

Driving 10,000km in each costs:

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $1,374.10

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $800.30

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $830.50

Driving 15,000km in each costs:

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $2,061.15

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $1,200.45

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $1,245.75

Let’s say you drive an average 15,000km per year. You’re savings in the RAV4 Hybrid over the non-hybrid will be $860.70 if you have the FWD version, or $815.40 if you have the AWD hybrid.

Both offer similar savings over substantial driving distance. However, the AWD hybrid costs twice as much more than the FWD hybrid does over the non-hybrid. So, the front-wheel drive RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser will pay for itself over the non-hybrid after 45,000km driving.

But maybe you’re thinking of buying the all-wheel drive RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser. Well, that’ll also pay for itself, but after about 105,000km driving.

Here are some more fuel running costs:

Driving 50,000km in each costs:

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $6,870.50

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $4,001.50

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $4,152.50

Driving 100,000km in each costs:

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $13,741.00

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $8,003.00

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $8,305.00

Driving 200,000km in each costs:

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD – $27,482.00

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid FWD – $16,006.00

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser Hybrid AWD – $16,610.00

After a long 200,000km, the savings for the FWD hybrid over the non-hybrid are $11,476.00. That’s huge. But we don’t know if there could be battery degradation, leading to a lower efficiency. But then again, petrol prices could double… so you could also double the numbers above.

We also rate the Toyota Rav4 highly above the non-hybrid in terms of driveability. The extra power and torque is noticeable, and the seemless transition between the petrol and electric motor goes unnoticed. Check out our latest full review on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Cruiser AWD here.

What do you think, is it worth stumping extra for the RAV4 hybrid?

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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax, Carsales.com.au, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


  1. There’s also resale – which is likely, in 3 or 4 years time, to be higher in a Hybrid.

    Owning a Hybrid myself, there is another BIG advantage – I can more easily fill when the price cycle is low (Bris), and not need to refill till it’s near the low point again – sometimes need to put a small amount as it’s going down, fill again at the bottom of the cycle.

  2. I think you’ll find the Hybrid RAV4’s have the 2.5 ltr and the petrol Cruiser is the 2ltr, on the the Edge RAV4 has the 2.5ltr petrol engine.

  3. I never got the point of hybrids.

    One of the key advantages of electric cars is their lack of mechanical complications, as they have a few thousand less parts than a petrol engined car. The consequence of this is much greater reliability and lower maintenance cost.

    A hybrid vehicle on the other hand has even more parts than a conventional petrol engine, making it even more complicated
    as well as less reliable, and more expensive to maintain.

  4. You also forgot to mention in your calculations that in Victoria, registration of a hybrid is $100 less than petrol only vehicles.

  5. need to point out that the cost to replace the battery is $6000, therefore the resale may not be as good. If you were buying an 8yr old rav4 hybrid this would need to be factored in so hybrid resale may not be higher?

    1. No one has mentioned the savings on brake pads and rotors in the hybrid vehicles. At 100,000km mine are still like an almost new car, saving hundreds of dollars.

      1. I have a diesel dmax with 165,000 on the clock. Still on original brake pads and rotors. Don’t think you’re onto anything special there.

    2. Well, no-one actually replaces the whole pack any more. There are plenty of third party vendors that can replace the individual cells that are defective, and that may amount to a few hundred dollars after a decade. The Toyota hybrid batteries are well proven in the field.

          1. Well it is correct. 3 months ago I test drove a rav and asked how much a replacement battery was. The dealer told me it was $6000. I couldn’t care less if you don’t believe me but it was a deal breaker for me.

          2. No one has mentioned here that the Hybrid Battery is under full replacement warranty for 5 years unlimited kilometres. That Warranty is extended to a full 10 years if an annual battery check (a no cost part of a service at a Toyota Dealer or a low cost check if done without a Service). And that was a deal maker for me. Further, it is very likely that the cost of replacing the whole battery, or individual damaged cells, will fall over time. I don’t doubt you about the price you were quoted, but I have found that many salespersons are less than accurate with their statements. For example, I was told by my dealer that a full size spare would not fit in the Cruiser’s wheel well. Yes it does – the exact same rim and tyre fits in there perfectly. (As you would expect since all NZ delivered RAV4s have a full size spare!)

  6. I just did a consumption test on my 2021 2 D and did 7.35 over 750km. I see figures as low as 4.5 how do they get that?

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